Ramakanta Biswas

Three artisans from Odisha has been nominated for the national handicraft award for their outstanding contribution towards the development of handicrafts.

Swapna Manjari Nayak of Bhawanipur in Pipili block of Puri has been selected for the national award for the year 2019 (women categories) for her excellent craft in palm leaf engraving (Pothichitra). 

Two others who have been selected for the award are Susanta Kumar Das of Jajpur district (stone carving) and Bijaylaxmi Swain of Puri (palm leaf engraving). The award consists of cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, one shawl, a certificate and a tamrapatra.

Swapna Manjari Nayak is the daughter of famous palm leaf engraving artist Adyaguru Maga Nayak of Nayakpatna in Chandanpur. She has achieved the glory by crafting manuscripts on all the topics from Lord Sri Krishana’s birth till Mahabharat on palm leaf. 

She is associated with the craft for the past 19 years.

“I have been learning the craft from my father Maga Nayak since I was 19. I am very delighted over being recognised by the State and Centre. At the same time I feel sad that my father cum guru who has preserved the legacy of the craft has not got the due recognition so far,” said Swapna Manjari.

“I am very happy that my wife has been nominated for the national award. She achieved the glory due to the blessings of the God and people of Pipili,” said Saroj Nayak, husband of Swapna Manjari. 

It can be mentioned here that the national award was instituted in 1965 and is conferred on 33 craftspersons in recognition of their outstanding contribution for the development of handicrafts. The award is given for an excellent piece of craftwork made by the craftsperson to promote and encourage the craft.